Scientists reviewed studies on what they call ‘blue space’, i.e. rivers, lakes and the sea, and concluded that “there was consistent evidence of positive associations between blue space exposure and mental health”.
Now you may think that you have to visit the countryside in order to reap the benefits of being close to a river, but surprisingly, being close to water in a walking are a popular subject and have long been known to reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost creative thinking, as well as enhance memory and concentration.
Whether you already live in London, or are planning a day trip and would like an activity that will help keep the January blues at bay, head for the River Thames for our suggested itinerary:
Board a Circular Cruise boat at Westminster Pier for a one-way trip to St Katharine’s Pier. Not only will you enjoy the positive benefits of being on the river, you’ll hopefully learn more about the major landmarks along the route thanks to the pilot’s commentary.
When you alight at St Katharine’s Pier, cross the river by walking over the iconic Tower Bridge (on the Pier side) and walk down the steps on the south side. Then walk through the tunnel that runs under the main road and follow the footpath, which is well signposted. Walking past City Hall and HMS Belfast, take a slight detour away from the river taking you underneath London Bridge and past Southwark Cathedral, rejoining the river at the Golden Hinde. Keep going past the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Oxo Tower, National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye and County Hall before ending up back at Westminster Bridge.
The route is just over two and a half miles long, which should take around an hour - unless you keep stopping to admire the view or have a sit down at one of the many cafés or bars along the route.
If you don’t fancy quite such a long walk, alight at Bankside Pier and head west for a one and half mile walk to Westminster Bridge which will take roughly half an hour.
Alternatively, you can start at Westminster Bridge and walk east to either Bankside Pier or St Katharine’s Pier and catch a non-stop Circular Cruise boat back, though sadly you won’t get the benefit of the pilot’s commentary.
Whichever way you do it, you’ll have a calming, relaxing day by the river, keeping the January blues at bay.
Click here for the Circular Cruise timetable and to book your tickets.